Writing a Resume
In Canada, a CV or Curriculum Vitae is referred to as a resume. A typical resume contains a summary of your relevant job experience and education. It is often a good idea to start with a brief summary of your experience, highlighting strengths and reasons why an employer should hire you. Often this opening statement is the only item on your resume an employer will read, so it’s important to catch their attention immediately.
It’s very important that you tailor your resume to the job and/or employer you are applying to, for example if you’re applying for a Customer Service Job with a retail company, customize your opening summary to reflect any specific experience you have in retail and any experience of dealing with members of the public.
Compared to a CV, your resume should be shorter. Remember, employers don’t want to be reading through pages and pages of employment and educational achievements. What they do want to see is your recent employment experience (start with the most recent job you’ve had) then work back in chronological order. Employment should be supported by academic achievements. If you have completed a lot of short training courses, you should focus on the most recent achievements or those that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
Tips for Writing your Resume
- Resume Size: Having 1-2 pages is more than enough. Your resume should reflect the level of experience and education that you have; if this fits on one page, use one page but don’t try to squeeze everything onto one page.
- Cover Letter: Attaching a cover letter is very important. Make it relevant to the position and company you are applying to. Ideally, find out the name of the person hiring and make the letter personal. Try to avoid using generic greetings such as ‘Sir/Madam’.
- Personal Information: You don’t have to include your date of birth, marital status or religion in a resume and there is legislation in place that prohibits employers from asking you these questions.
- References: If you are including references on your resume, it is only polite to ask their permission first.
- Important Documents: Once you have written your resume, you should pull together all school records, diplomas and degrees as employers may want to see them. In addition, any trade or professional qualification documentation should also be collected for presentation. If you have any written references you should also include these, but there is no need to send these documents with your resume. You should have them ready to present to an employer if needs be.
A useful online resume builder is available on the Canadian Government’s job website, Jobbank.gc.ca. This is free, however you will need to create an account.